Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.
) soared over 45% to end the trading session on Aug 8 at $20.70 per
share following encouraging news from the FDA on its Ebola
In Jul 2014, the U.S. regulatory body had placed Tekmira's phase I
study on the Ebola candidate on clinical hold due to safety
concerns. TKM-Ebola was being developed by Tekmira under a contract
worth $140 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. However,
pressure has been mounting on the FDA to expedite the approval of
an anti Ebola drug following its deadly outbreak in Africa, which
has so far claimed multiple lives and shows no signs of diminishing
in the absence of an approved drug to combat the deadly virus.
The FDA responded by giving a verbal assurance to Tekmira that it
is converting the full clinical hold on TKM-Ebola to a partial
clinical hold. The FDA's move allows the potential use of Tekmira's
candidate to treat Ebola infected patients. TKM-Ebola enjoys fast
track status from the FDA.
Apart from Tekmira, privately held Mapp Biopharmaceutical and
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (
) are also developing therapies to combat Ebola.
We believe the FDA's decision on TKM-Ebola will come as a relief to
Ebola patients and doctors alike with the disease threatening to
spread to other parts of the world from Africa (read our earlier
Tekmira Pharma in Focus as the World Awaits Ebola
). We believe investors at Tekmira will be keenly watching how
TKM-Ebola is utilized to prevent the spread of this dreaded
Canada-based Tekmira carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked
healthcare stocks include Actelion (
) and Gilead Sciences (
). Both stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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